Meta plans to use generative AI to create commercials for businesses by the end of 2023.
According to Meta's CTO, Andrew Bosworth, these AI-based tools will help them create customised ads for various target markets.
In other AI news, Mark Zuckerberg revealed in February that the company is testing AI-powered chat on WhatsApp and Messenger and filters for Instagram. He also introduced a new team focused on AI tools led by Chris Cox (CPO).
While Meta's metaverse efforts have not panned out desired results, the company is pushing the concept of creating virtual worlds using generative AI.
Here's what I've got for you today:
- Tizeti's satellite Internet could make a difference in Nigeria
- Liquid Intelligent to build a data centre in Zambia
- Equator's $40m first fund
- Konza partners Moringa to provide digital skills for Kenyan youth
Tizeti's satellite Internet could make a difference in Nigeria
Did you know that before Elon Musk launched Starlink — which might be going from Internet saviour to nice-to-have — there were some local competitors in the Nigerian satellite Internet market?
Since 2013, organisations like Eutelsat, SES, Viasat, Avanti, and Coollink have been working to link rural areas, but their efforts have largely gone unnoticed.
For instance, in November 2022, a young YC-backed startup, Tizeti, partnered with Eutelsat to reach remote communities throughout Nigeria with fast and affordable Internet services.
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Temitope Osunrinde, VP of partnerships at Tizeti, explained that this move aligns with the company’s drive to use technology to solve Nigeria’s connectivity problems.
“The partnership with Eutelsat covers all of Nigeria, specifically unserved and underserved locations, so obviously, outside major cities, such as Lagos. However, we will do this in phases. The first phase covers some states in the South-West, which is ongoing. Installation is in progress, and we plan to launch commercially over the next few days.”
Tizeti and other local players might not be as fast as Starlink, but their pricing makes them more affordable entry points for people in rural areas.
While Starlink costs $43 (₦19,333) per month, Coollink offers its service for as low as $15 (₦7,000), and Tizeti $1.2 (capped at 1GB per month).
In comparison to Starlink, these startups have the potential to significantly increase the amount of Internet penetration and coverage in Nigeria.
Emmanuel writes about the challenges local players, like Tizeti, face and what the future might hold for them here: Forget Starlink, this YC-backed startup could move the needle with satellite Internet in Nigeria
Liquid Intelligent to build a data centre in Zambia
Liquid Intelligent Technologies has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Zambian government to establish a data centre in the country.
This latest development is the country’s response to the demand for data hosting from local businesses and hyperscaler companies.
This agreement could speed up Zambia's digital transformation and provide reliable, affordable connectivity to all citizens.
The company will expand its fibre networks to link more communities across Zambia, including hospitals, schools, and clinics.
Liquid will also collaborate with the government to provide private and public cloud computing services, and cyber security solutions, to support the digitisation of government services.
Per Cassava Technologies President and Group CEO, Hardy Pemhiwa, “We recognise the significant efforts that the Zambian government is making to accelerate the country’s digital transformation and share His Excellency President Hichilema’s vision for the development of Zambia’s digital economy.
“Given the conducive investment environment, we are committed to further investments in Zambia’s digital infrastructure.”
Equator's $40m first fund
sub-Saharan Africa-focused climate tech VC firm, Equator, has completed the initial close of its first fund with $40 million in commitments.
The venture capital firm plans to capitalise on the current shift in the global narrative about the importance of climate technology and its impact on climate change.
According to the company's statement, its limited partners include British International Investment, the Shell Foundation, the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), and impact investor, DOEN Participaties.
Equator typically supports seed and Series A startups.
Managing Partner, Nijhad Jamal, added that investing money at the seed and Series A stages enables Equator to serve as a link between early investments in startups (at the pre-seed stage) and growth capital, which might come from its limited partners.
Jamal says that the firm wants to support tech-enabled ventures that bring some aspect of technology, whether hardware or software or business model innovation, to bear in an area where innovation may be lacking.
The fund will therefore focus on technical founders with domain knowledge who are developing solutions in clean energy, agriculture, and mobility and who ultimately address how climate change will affect income inequality in Africa.
Equator says it participates in rounds of $10 million or less, typical for pre-Series B cleantech startups in sub-Saharan Africa. The company hopes to make up to 15 investments throughout the fund's lifecycle.
The clean tech VC invests between $1 million and $2 million in seed and between $2 million and $4 million in series A stages.
The company, which has offices in Nairobi, Lagos, London, and Colorado, will also benefit from assistance from Factor[e] Ventures, a venture builder and pre-seed investor group.
Equator and Factor[e] share a post-investment support platform to add value to portfolio companies as they scale, even though both firms work independently. They also work together to source deals and conduct due diligence.
Konza partners Moringa to provide digital skills for Kenyan youth
Kenya’s Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Moringa School to support the design and launch of the Jitume Skills Program.
KoTDA is the implementing agency for Konza Technopolis Smart City, while Moringa School is a learning accelerator.
The Jitume Skills Program is a government initiative that aims to encourage Kenyans to learn digital skills.
Why does it matter? Youth (15-34 years old), who make up 35 per cent of Kenya's population, have the highest unemployment rate, at 67 per cent, despite the country's overall unemployment rate of 12.7%.
Consequently, the partnership will provide Kenyan youth with digital skills training through the Moringa School platforms.
In collaboration with Kenyan private sector businesses, the programme will offer learning centres (Jitume-Class), job linkages, and job centres (Jitume Digital Empowerment Centers).
Konza and Moringa will concentrate on transferring technologies between the two institutions and work together to promote local content and adapt global technologies to the specifics of the local environment.
In the next three to five years, the programme plans to enable one million young Kenyans to participate in jobs with digital skills.
Through the five-year MoU, Moringa will connect Jitume participants who enrol in its programmes with national and international employers.
In case you missed it
- “Valuations have not been slashed; they have only returned to what they’re supposed to be.” — Ajani Windsor-Areago, Venture Partner, Expert Dojo
What I'm reading and watching
- Substack’s new short-form ‘Notes’ feed looks a lot like Twitter
- Indian universities roll out plans to open branch campuses in Nigeria
- Why is Africa turning away from the United States?
- Lecture #9: How to Read so that you *Retain* Information
- RelianceHMO is looking for a Technical Product Manager in Lagos, Nigeria. Apply here.
- RelianceHMO is hiring a User Experience Researcher in Egypt. Apply here.
- VEED is looking for a Digital Marketing Analyst to join them remotely. Apply here.
- Givebutter is hiring a Data Analyst. Apply here.
- If you are a software engineer, creative designer, product manager, design researcher, or a techie looking for an internship role, please, check out this website.
Have a terrific Thursday.
Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.